The 12/07 Podango Downtime Can Have An Upside If They Do This Right

Let me start by saying that I’ve been a big fan of Podango since day 1. I’ve liked their people and their model. I keynoted their first “Unconference.” I launched the “Internet Marketing Podcast Network” with them and have blogged about them numerous times. Even had Lee Gibbons on both the Electronic Marketing Interviews show and on New Media Matters.

I went really loopy when they bought Gigavox from Podango. I was like two friends getting married. That system is the bedrock of all of my audio Podcasts right now.

Well, around New Years Eve, the honeymoon was over. I tried to publish something before the old year was over and the Gigavox / Podango publishing system was down. A little research in some forums shown it had been down for awhile.

Note: Not all of Podango, this was just an issue with the Showbuilder Lite system (the part I use).

Now, don’t get me wrong, I understand holiday breaks and the like but … there was no way to contact anyone (minus the old rolodex) and I tried everything I could.

It remained down.

For at least a week.

I told Lee (sometimes with all caps ;-)) and the gang that this was unacceptable (they agreed) and that we needed to move from a “sorry we were down” to a “when we go down next time here is how things will change” kind of approach. In this space, things go down, the issue is what we do about it and be pro-active instead of re-active.

I bullied them into getting me a downtime document by Friday the 4th with the promise that I would Blog accordingly and explain what I thought of the document or that the document never arrived.

The document arrived. On time.

It wasn’t perfect. Really, it wasn’t even ‘close.’

I suggested a few things.

They agreed. They edited. We’re in ‘close’ mode now.

And here is what they offered me. Here’s what they offered the community.

1 – I asked for an off-site area to post downtime issues, etc. Here was the email response

Yes, Paul. You may post that we will have it. InsidePodango.com is the domain. It will be set up and functional by Monday close of business.

We will use this domain for technology focused updates, including:
– System Status Notifications
– System Update Notifications
– Known Issues and Resolution Targets
– A Podango BBS
– Access to the Podango Learning Center
– RSS feeds for posts related to specific categories of info: system status notifications, produce news, al posts…
– Etc.

Clearly, not all of these things will be available on Monday, but
this is where we want to take it.

The site is live. Step 1.

2 – This note was sent on the 8th. They could have hid and “hoped” most people didn’t notice the downtime but they sent this:

Dear Podango Show Builder Lite user,
As you may be aware, Podango Show Builder Lite (formerly Gigavox Audio Lite) has been experiencing some technical difficulties in a couple of key areas. The main problem has been with uploading, but we have received reports of problems with assembly in some isolated instances as well.

First, I’d like to offer my sincerest apologies for the inconvenience and trouble that this may have caused you. The road to transition has been a little rockier than we would have liked or initially anticipated. We are working diligently on the transition and hope to be fully transitioned soon.

Secondly, we believe the issues surrounding uploading have been resolved. If you continue to experience problems uploading–or any other issues, please let us know by way of the method described below.

Thirdly, I want to let you know how to best help us help you when issues arise. To get support, please email psbl-support@podango.com and give us your name, Podango Show Builder Lite username (we don’t need your password), and a description of the issue you’re seeing with as much detail as possible. Someone will respond to your issue shortly to let you know that we’ve received your message and will help resolve the issue. To make sure that we are timely in our response and aware of all new issues, in addition to us receiving your message via email, our email system will also send us a message to our support pagers, so that we will instantly be alerted that there is an issue that needs resolution.

In closing, We appreciate your patience and participation as we move to make this great service even better. We value your contribution to the podcasting community at large, and welcome your feedback on how to make our service even better.

In great cause together,

JT Zemp
CTO – Podango

That was the right thing to do. You’ll notice they gave an email address contact that goes to pagers, not an inbox that nobody checks.

And I support the transparency 100%. Step 2.

3 – Lee and I had dinner at CES. We’re going to continue this dialog and document.

So, as I said in the title to this posting, the downtime can be good for them if they do this right. Allowing me to air a little of their dirty laundry in an attempt to prove they’ve changed soaps is a bold move and I salute them for it.

In a few months I’ll salute either their success in making this happen or … let you know where I’m moving to.

I really hope it’s “Option A.”

My gut tells me it will be, but time will tell the true story.

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